Art of Invention - Invention of Art
Design & Creativity
For over 200 years, the United States Patent and Trademark
Office (USPTO) has served as a facilitator for American innovation,
issuing nearly 8 million patents and registering more than 3 million
trademarks. The right to protect intellectual property, as a basic right
to benefit from a product of one’s thoughts and ideas, has played
a critical role in America’s evolution into the most technologically
advanced, economically vibrant power on earth.
Children marvel at the latest addition to the USPTO museum. The new “Portrait Gallery” exhibit features digital electronic portraits of US Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison;
famous inventor Thomas Edison; National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees Helen Free, who developed home testing for diabetes, and Steve Wozniak, the inventor and co-founder of Apple
Computer; and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Jon Dudas. The gallery portraits, through the magic of computer-generated special effects
and exclusive control software, spontaneously come to life, interactively engaging in humorous banter that highlights the history and growth of America’s intellectual property system.
of Commerce, and U.S. Government agencies on intellectual property (IP)
“Congress shall have the power... policy, protection, and enforcement; and promotes stronger and more effective
to promote the progress of science IP protection around the world.
and useful arts by securing for limited The USPTO furthers effective IP protection for U.S. innovators and
times to authors and inventors entrepreneurs worldwide by working with other agencies to secure strong IP
the exclusive right to their respective provisions in free trade and other international agreements. It also provides
writings and discoveries.” training, education, and capacity building programs designed to foster respect
for IP and encourage the development of strong IP enforcement regimes by
George Washington signed the first patent statute into law on April 10,
U.S. trading partners.
1790. On July 31 of that year, Samuel Hopkins of Philadelphia, Pa., received
The USPTO has evolved into a unique government agency. In 1991
the first U.S. patent for an improvement in the “making of pot ash and pearl
– under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1990 – the
ash by a new apparatus and process.”
USPTO became fully supported by user fees to fund its operations. In 1999,
Trademarks are as important as patents in protecting the intellectual
the American Inventors Protection Act established the USPTO as an agency
property rights of individuals and companies. In 1870, Congress enacted the
with performance-based attributes; for example, a clear mission statement,
first U.S. trademark law. It was later declared unconstitutional because it was
measurable services and a performance measurement system, and
improperly based on the patent and copyright clause in the Constitution. It
predictable sources of funding.
wasn’t until 1881 that a new law, based upon the commerce clause, was
The USPTO is more than an approval system – it houses one of the
largest repositories of scientific and technical knowledge in the world. It is
Today, America’s inventive spirit is one of our most treasured and envied
an organization dedicated to the promotion and progress of science and
assets. The USPTO works to record, share, and preserve this inventive
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is located in Alexandria, Virginia, and is one of the largest federal facilities in the country.
the useful arts, to bolstering the strength and vitality of the U.S. economy by
spirit. Under this system of protection, American industry has flourished.
The USPTO campus consists of five main buildings arranged in a U-shaped pattern with a complementary open-ended U-shaped courtyard in the center.
The five main buildings ‘Remsen, Jefferson, Madison, Knox, and Randolph’ are named for men who played important roles in establishing America’s intellectual property protection system.
protecting new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity.
New products have been invented, new uses for old ones discovered, and
T The construction of the campus in Alexandria, Va., was completed in
employment opportunities created for millions of Americans. The strength and
hrough the issuance of patents, the USPTO encourages increase productivity, cure diseases, ease burdens, and
2005. As one of the largest federal facilities in the country, the USPTO
vitality of the U.S. economy depends directly on effective mechanisms that
technological advancement by providing incentives to enjoy life to the fullest. The USPTO plays a vital role in the
campus consists of five main buildings arranged in a U-shaped pattern with a
protect new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. The continued
invent, invest in, and disclose new technology worldwide. scientific, technical and economic development of our nation
complementary open-ended U-shaped courtyard in the center. The five main
demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American
Through the registration of trademarks, the agency assists by granting inventors patents for their inventions.
buildings--Remsen, Jefferson, Madison, Knox, and Randolph–are named for
inventors and entrepreneurs. The USPTO is at the cutting edge of the Nation’s
businesses in protecting their investments, promoting goods Millions of inventors have sought protection for their
men who played important roles in establishing America’s intellectual property
technological progress and achievement.
and services, and safeguarding consumers against confusion inventions through the USPTO. From Thomas Edison’s
protection system. James Madison is generally credited with writing Article
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency
and deception in the marketplace. By disseminating both electric lamp and Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, to the
1, Section 8, of the Constitution, which provides the basis for this country’s
within the Department of Commerce (DOC). Under the direction of the Under
patent and trademark information, the USPTO promotes Wright brothers’ flying machine and John Deere’s steel plow
intellectual property protection system. Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of
Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of USPTO,
an understanding of intellectual property protection and and more, the great innovative spirit of our nation has been
State, Henry Knox as Secretary of War, and William Randolph as Attorney
this federal agency is responsible for granting U.S. patents and registering
facilitates the development and sharing of new technologies supported by the USPTO.
General comprised the first patent board. They met every Saturday to review
trademarks. In doing this, the USPTO fulfills the mandate of Article I, Section
worldwide. Our nation’s founders recognized the importance of
applications and issue patents. Henry Remsen was the first clerk of the patent
8, of the Constitution.
Throughout history, inventions have helped people intellectual property, and included provisions for its protection
The USPTO advises the President of the United States, the Secretary
discover new worlds, build communities, develop resources, and encouragement in the Constitution….
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The USPTO celebrated ingenuity, invention and imagination during the Modern Marvels display in the agency’s Madison atrium. The
Modern Marvels exhibit, sponsored by The History Channel® and the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, featured scale models, proto-
types and artwork of the inventions of the 25 semifinalists of the 2007 Modern Marvels Invent Now® Challenge Foundation
The first U.S. patent was granted in 1790 to Samuel Hopkins of Philadelphia for “making pot and pearl ashes”-a cleaning formula used in soapmaking.
The two million square feet campus houses about 9,000 highly skilled
and professional employees and the agency’s museum.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Museum is the agency’s
opportunity to showcase how the U.S. patent and trademark systems
protect and encourage innovation and the men and women whose
creativity has helped foster a strong and prosperous America.
The USPTO Museum features an interactive exhibit area, theatre and
The museum currently hosts several interactive exhibits, including the
“Art of Invention – Invention of Art,” which features 70 works of art that
emerged from inventions, patents and trademarks. The inventors and
artists represented in this exhibit produced artistic treasures that also
serve a practical purpose.
The museum’s latest addition, a novel high tech “Portrait Gallery”
features digital electronic portraits of U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson
and James Madison; the famous inventor Thomas Edison; National
Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees Helen Free, who developed home
testing for diabetes, and Steve Wozniak, the inventor and co-founder of
Apple Computer; and USPTO Director Jon Dudas.
Through its exhibits, visitors enjoy the ingenuity of mankind and
become aware of the vital role that intellectual property plays in every
aspect of our lives. The museum and gift shop were developed and are
maintained by the National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc.
The museum is located in the atrium of the Madison Building, 600
Dulany Street, Alexandria, Va., and is open Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. -
5:00 p.m., Saturday, noon - 5:00 p.m., closed on Sundays and federal
holidays. Admission is free.
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The USPTO educates the public about the Federal Government’s efforts to combat counterfeit goods, which costs U.S. businesses billons of dollars each year